Sheriff Stilinski took one last look around the kitchen where there was nearly no sign of the mess and chaos that had taken place earlier in the day. He nodded to himself and then walked down the hall into the living room. The room was also mostly tidy, a small pile of cushions on the floor next to the couch the only things out of place, and he bent to toss them back where they belonged before he made his way to his armchair and sunk into it. He tipped his head back and listened, the near silence in the house both eerie and a godsend after the long day.
Pack meals were always noisy and chaotic, that was only to be expected when there was nearly a dozen people gathered around a single table. Pack meals on a holiday were something else entirely. Idly he wondered if he could convince Melissa McCall to host Thanksgiving at her house next year, where there was more space in the dining room. Melissa had left shortly after dinner, she was working the Thanksgiving evening and night shift, and had joked that the hospital would be getting their customary flood of patients who hadn't quite gotten the hang of cooking a turkey.
With his feet up on the footrest he turned on the tv and flipped through channels until he found a football game that was just past halftime. He muted the game, content to watch - and maybe nap - in silence since his ears still hadn't quite recovered from the meal. While he watched he let his mind wander, half-marveling at the largest holiday meal he'd had in seven years, ever since he and Stiles had stopped seeing their extended family over the holidays. The majority of the pack had been in attendance for the full meal. Lydia, Derek, and Boyd had all but taken over the kitchen with preparations and had assigned tasks as necessary. The Sheriff and Melissa had been relegated to the living room, both slightly bemused but more than willing to let the teens, and Derek, take over the tasks they were accustomed to doing.
Most of the boys had played a pick-up game of lacrosse in the backyard, Jackson racing through the house to join them as soon as he arrived from his family's house with Danny following not far behind. Erica had left early to join her dad for an evening meal, and Allison had only been able to drop by for about an hour before she'd been summoned back home by her father. Overall it had felt busy and noisy, particularly since he'd grown used to having Thanksgiving either with the McCalls or down at the Sheriff's Department with Stiles accompanying him. More than once he'd caught a glimpse of Stiles right in the thick of things, grinning and looking thrilled to be surrounded by his friends and family.
The sound of footsteps on the stairs caught his attention and he looked over just in time to see Stiles shuffle into the living room and flop down on the couch. He had his hand over his stomach like he was regretting his third slice of pie, but there was a hint of a smile on his lips as he groaned. "I can't believe Derek took them running less than an hour after dessert. He's going to have sick werewolves on his hands and I am so not dealing with that," Stiles said, dragging his feet up on the couch with the rest of his body.
He smiled because he'd seen firsthand exactly how much food the werewolves could put away without any indication that they were remotely full, which he had assumed was at least part of the reason why Derek had corralled his pack into doing the pre-Thanksgiving grocery shopping. "I think they'll be alright," he said - he'd watched Erica and Jackson roughhousing less than ten minutes after they'd finished gorging on pie and ice cream. At least on Thanksgiving he didn't have to be concerned that they would be getting shot at while racing through the woods; regular hunters wouldn't be out and he was hoping specifically that the werewolf Hunters were taking the evening off.
Stiles' phone buzzed in his pocket and he pulled it out and frowned down at the screen before typing a return message. "Danny says he dropped off Lydia at her house and he's now at home too. The plan is for Jackson to spend the night with him since Jackson's parents are out, Isaac and Scott are coming back here when they're doing running, and everyone else is going home to their parents," he said, dropping his cellphone on the coffee table before sprawling flat on the couch again. "Derek's probably going to go lurk around in the woods since we didn't give him the opportunity earlier in the day," he added with a sigh.
"Derek does that frequently?" he asked. He could easily imagine Derek roaming restless in the woods all night - Derek frequently looked like he hadn't slept in days.
"Not so much anymore, but around the holidays he gets worse," Stiles said. He pushed himself up into a sitting position, nesting himself in the corner of the couch so he was supported by both the armrest and the back. "I think it's hard for him sometimes, having a new pack. It was probably easier when he could just spend the holidays lurking away without having to worry about being responsible for his betas."
He nodded, immediately getting what Stiles was trying to say. Derek had gone from a member of a pack and a family, to having no one except his sister, and then to being responsible for a pack of teenagers. It had been a difficult enough transition for him and Stiles, going from a full extended family to just the two of them, and his relief at seeing Stiles finally building close connections outside of the McCalls was unparalleled.
"Speaking of the holidays," Stiles said, his words more uncertain now. "I wanted to ask you something."
Since Stiles usually just asked without the preamble he now had his dad's full attention. "Ask away," he said, trying to brace himself for whatever Stiles had come up with this time.
"Well, I was asking around the rest of the pack, trying to get an idea of what everyone's Christmas plans looked like so we could coordinate a little, and, well, I kind of got the impression that Christmas hasn't been that great for anyone these past few years," Stiles said, his eyes focused on where he was picking at the worn edges of his sweatpants.
"Okay," he said, thinking back to their own lackluster holidays over the past few years. It had been by some silent agreement that they hadn't celebrated Christmas much; they exchanged a few presents, had a sit down meal together, and then Stiles usually disappeared to find Scott. The Sheriff usually took the evening shift on Christmas, trying to give as many of his deputies as possible a chance to be with their families.
"Like, I asked Isaac what he wanted to do, and he just looked at me like I was crazy and said he was too old for Christmas," Stiles said, grimacing slightly. "And Jackson's parents are going out of town, and Lydia's parents are already fighting about who she should stay with over the break and she doesn't want to stay with either of them. Erica says she doesn't know that either of her parents will be in town, not that they do much anyway, and Boyd said Christmas with his family is pretty low key. Not to mention Derek. Last year he disappeared for the whole week and came back looking like he'd spent the entire time running in the woods." Stiles stopped to take a breath. "So, I was thinking maybe we could do a real Christmas this year, for everyone, with a tree and decorations and everything. If it was okay with you."
He took in the way Stiles was tapping his fingers restlessly against his ankle and the worried twist of Stiles' lips, and was filled with a rush of gratitude for his son, and a whisper of regret that Stiles was even worried about asking. "I think that's a good idea," he said, nodding his approval. He thought he was ready to have a full-fledged Christmas in the house again, his wife had always brought everything out on December 1st in a whirlwind of scents and color, but more importantly it sounded like Stiles was ready.
Stiles nodded and climbed up from the couch. A few seconds later his arms were around his dad's shoulders and they hugged for a brief moment before Stiles pulled away. "Now I just have to get Derek on board, which really just means letting Lydia start planning because then Derek will have no choice," Stiles said with an impish smile.
"Good to know you have everything under control," he said, watching Stiles bound from the room before settling back in his chair as he halfheartedly returned his attention to the football game. He fell asleep with a running list in his mind of things that he would need to do to prepare for an actual Christmas celebration, and when he woke a few hours later the tv was off and a blanket had been draped over his lap.
He stood and stretched, his back protesting, and he wandered toward the sliver of light coming from down the hall. Pausing in the doorway he took in the scene in front of him. It wasn't quite midnight, the only light in the room the little one above the stove, and Stiles, Scott, and Isaac were at the counter gathered around what little had been left over of the pies and were eating directly from the tins.
"Hey," Stiles said around a mouthful of pumpkin pie. Isaac and Scott had turned with wide eyes, Isaac furtively brushing pie crumbs from around his mouth and Scott hiding his fork behind his back.
"I hope you're at least having some milk with that," he said, retrieving the carton of milk from the fridge, four cups from the cupboard, and then a fork from the drawer. "Pass the cherry."
Scott wordlessly passed the last slice of cherry pie in his direction as Stiles poured cups of milk for everyone.
Their conversation consisted mostly of distracted mumbling about pie and after he finished his slice and glass of milk he told them to clean up when they were done and ambled away upstairs. He fell asleep listening for the sound of their footfalls in the hallway and didn't wake until morning when he heard voices talking loudly about what they wanted to do for breakfast.